James Gray - Concise Bible Commentary
Listen, O isles, unto me; and hearken, ye people, from far; The LORD hath called me from the womb; from the bowels of my mother hath he made mention of my name.Isaiah 49:1-57:21
THE MESSIAH REVEALED
The thirty-two chapters deal particularly with the Person and work of the Messiah. Isaiah has sometimes been called the evangelical prophet because of the large space he gives to that subject a circumstance the more notable because of the silence concerning it since Moses. The explanation of this silence is hinted at in the lesson on the introduction to the prophets.
In chapter 49, the Messiah speaks of Himself and the failure of His mission in His rejection by His nation (Isaiah 49:1-4). This rejection works blessing to the Gentiles (Isaiah 49:5-6; compare Romans 11). Ultimately Israel shall be brought to Him and indeed the whole earth (see the remainder of chap. 49). Zion, i.e., Israel, may doubt this (Isaiah 49:14), but is assured of it in what follows.
Chapter 50 is connected with the preceding Isaiah 50:1-3 referring to Zion’s restoration. But at Isaiah 50:4 the Messiah bears witness to himself again, His obedience, suffering and triumph down to the end of the chapter.
These verses furnish rich material for a Bible discourse or exposition on The Training of Jesus: (1) His Teacher: “The Lord God hath given me the tongue of the learned”; (2) the object of His teaching: “That I should know how to speak a word in season,”; (3) the method of its impartations: “He wakeneth morning by morning”; (4) the spirit of the pupil: “I was not rebellious’’; (5) the encouragement He receives: “The Lord God will help me”; (6) the counsel He offers to others: “Who is among you that feareth the Lord?” and (7) the warning to the disobedient: “Behold all ye that kindle a fire.”
In like manner chapter 51 is linked to chapter 50, by the words of comfort to Zion which shall be brought to her through the Messiah’s work on her behalf. Isaiah 51:9-11 are a prayer of faith of the faithful remnant which is answered in the remainder of that chapter and in the following, down to and including Isaiah 51:12.
Isaiah 52:13 to Isaiah 53:12 are a unit in their Messianic character. Christ’s personal suffering and glorious triumph are depicted in the closing verses of chapter 52. His rejection by Israel in Isaiah 53:1-6; His submission, deliverance and reward (Isaiah 53:7-12).
Chapter 54 exhibits the result of this in Israel’s conversion, restoration and earthly glory in the millennium. Observe the divine oath that this shall be brought to pass (Isaiah 54:9).
Chapter 55 is the offer of this salvation to Israel, and requires no comment. Chapter 56 shows that when this offer is at last accepted and the salvation experienced by Israel, it will mean similar blessing to the whole earth (Isaiah 55:1-8).
The rest of this chapter, and nearly the whole of the following one, describe the sad condition of Israel at present, but especially at the end period under the Antichrist (57:9). The section concludes with the customary promises to the faithful (57:15-19).
1. What is the chief topic of this lesson?
2. What name has Israel sometimes received, and why?
3. Explain the silence about the Messiah until this period.
4. Who speaks in chapter 49?
5. Have you read Romans 11?
6. Who speaks in chapter 50?
7. Memorize Israel 53.
8. State the connection between chapters 53 and 54.